Nelson Mandela University Obtains Interdict Against Protesting Students


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Learning and teaching is expected to proceed as normal at the Nelson Mandela University this week. This comes after the institution obtained an interdict against protesting students. 


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Nelson Mandela University (NMU) has obtained an interdict from the Gqeberha High Court, aiming to quell disruption to the academic programme at the university. The interdict comes in the wake of recent protests that have plagued the NMW Gqeberha campus, which forced the transition to online teaching at the George Campus as a precautionary measure.

The disturbances were triggered by frustrations over delays in the release of student information and allowances by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and have significantly impacted various facets of university operations, including registration, accommodation, and student welfare.

Under the interdict, the University seeks to protect the rights of those accessing the campus for work or studies while allowing space for peaceful protests by specified conditions. These conditions emphasize the importance of maintaining academic activities without disruption, preserving property, and upholding university rules.

Furthermore, the interdict underscores the need to prevent intimidation of students and staff to ensure a conducive learning environment for all. While the University acknowledges the challenges posed by the disruptions, it remains committed to addressing the underlying issues and fostering a positive academic experience for students.

To counter these challenges and support students through this difficult period, the University has consistently engaged with the relevant stakeholders internally and externally and implemented a number of temporary and emergency measures.

Efforts are underway to speed up the appeals process, extend concessions, and provide support to students without immediate access to WiFi.

The disbursement of the learning material allowance from the NSFAS, the opening of the student laptop opportunity, and progress made in the University’s concession process are among the improvements underway in addressing challenges at the start of the 2024 academic year.

NMW received the go-ahead from NSFAS to release the learning material allowance to qualifying students. Students can expect this NSFAS allowance on their Intelli­-Card. Those who do not yet have this card should go to Financial Aid for assistance.

As a result of the release of this allowance, first-time entering (FTEN) students can now take advantage of the Student Device Initiative (SDI), allowing them to procure a laptop over two years at a cost of R5,400. More than 1,700 students had opted to purchase a laptop.

Students returned to face-to-face classes on Wednesday, 21 February 2024, after student representatives and the institution agreed on issues. Provision has also been made to accommodate 250 students in temporary housing.

This follows the Central Student Representative Council and the University agreeing on issues. Furthermore, more than 250 students have been placed in temporary accommodation. As the University continues to engage with stakeholders internally and externally, the collaboration between NMU and the Central Student Representative Council (CSRC) remains crucial in navigating the challenges and charting a path forward.

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